Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson are a similar historical pair: Both rebelled against the “establishment” and won the presidency amidst a populist fury driven by demagogic appeals that played to illogical passions, not rational behavior. Jackson brought only death and economic destruction — yet he’s Trump economic idol. Will Trump make America suffer a similar fate?
Steve Bannon, the white nationalist and former Breitbart executive who’s the dominant voice in the West Wing, favorably called Trump’s inaugural address — which Bannon helped write — “very Jacksonian.” Trump rehung Jackson’s portrait in the Oval Office (Obama, not favoring killers, had removed it). Building off that, Trump became the first president since Ronald Reagan to visit The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home, wherehe praised Jackson as a “beloved president” and one of his heroes.
Well, let’s take a look at the nation’s first populist and see the Andrew Jackson qualities Trump finds so inspiring and on which he hopes to build:
- Andrew Jackson owned more than 150 slaves. They were “the source of his wealth.”
- He brutally expelled Native Americans from their home land — land which the United States had guaranteed to them through a variety of treaties — and forced them on the “trail of tears,” which saw mortality rates hit 20 percent.
- Furious at a Supreme Court decision, Jackson remarked “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Then, completely abandoning the Constitution he swore to uphold, Jackson simply ignored the ruling.
- Destroyed the vision our Founders had for the constitutional Republic through his demagogic campaigns and interfering with Congress’s ability to control the legislative process.
- Pushed for and enacted policies that destabilized the financial system, leading to an economic calamity that destroyed the lives of the farmers from whom he drew popular support.
Andrew Jackson leaves a disastrous legacy, one of death, illegal actions, and economic gloom. He is no hero, except to white nationalists that wish to return America to its days of a White Republic. Should Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson have more in common than just the means of their election, America will be in for a disastrous four years.